Opening Day reader leftovers and a look ahead to Cliff Lee.
Doc's pitch selection: If you believe Brooks Baseball Pitch FX tool and their pitch classification, Roy Halladay didn't throw a single four-seam fastball on opening day, writes MG in our comments thread. Of Doc's 92 pitches, 54 classified as cutters, 22 were curves, 11 were splits and 5 were two-seam fastballs. "I thought he threw a few changeups, but it's often tough to classify a split vs. changeup," MG writes, adding that he'd love to see Joe Blanton follow suit and use his 4-seamer as little as possible this season.
Killer curve: "Halladay's killer pitch was his curve," added clout. "I don't think I've ever seen him with a better curve. It had sharp break and was catching the plate. The hitters couldn't touch it."
Lack of righty bench option: Because Charlie Manuel started Ty Wigginton and John Mayberry, the Phillies were left with an all-lefty bench, a situation that would have only become a factor had Freddy Galvis kept the inning alive in the top of the 9th, with Jim Thome waiting on deck and a left-hander warming in the Pirates' bullpen. Manuel has said he's ready to use Juan Pierre in left/left situations, but the Phillies must be looking at the current cast of characters - namely Pete Orr - and wishing they had a right-handed option instead. There will also come times when Nix's one-dimensionality (he can't hit lefties) could also hurt them.
Granted, the dynamic will change once Thome, Pierre or Laynce Nix start against a right-handed pitcher. It was reported that the Tigers were pushing Brandon Inge on the Phillies, but the club wasn't interested. The 34-year-old veteran looked as though his days in Detroit were numbered, but they decided to keep him. In terms of the Phillies, he's a versatile righty bat who coud theoretically free up Carlos Ruiz to pinch hit when he's not in the starting lineup. Money might have been a factor in the Phillies' disinterest, or they simply believe that Inge's time has passed. The club has also been linked to free agent Mark Fontenot, a lefty hitter. Inge is currently on the Tigers' DL.
Lee debuts: "Redemption" may not have been the right word to use on Opening Day to set the stage for a 102-game winner and five-time division champ, but it's an appropriate term for Cliff Lee, who returns to the mound for the first time since his fatally careless Game 2 performance against the Cardinals. Lee, who led all of baseball with six shutouts, stands opposite Jeff Karstens, who's coming off a career year (3.38 ERA).